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Podcast: Your Money and Your Life

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is helping to break the cycle of borrowing from loan sharks and supporting victims caught in their trap, on its brand-new podcast; Your Money and Your Life.

Across the series, we’ll be bringing you insightful conversations from the people who have been targeted by loan sharks, as they share their stories and experiences – highlighting what you should look out for. We’ll also be joined by the organisations working tirelessly to tackle these criminals, as they explain what more we can do to identify them.

Please note the Stop Loan Sharks Proceeds of Crime Fund is now closed. All successful applicants have been contacted.

Every episode will be available on all major platforms, just click subscribe!

Subscribe (for free!) on Apple Podcasts and leave us a 5-star review while you’re there.

Episode One: Tackling loan sharks 

In this brand-new podcast, we’ll be exploring the challenge facing many people in Britain today, as the number of people struggling to make ends meet rises and personal debt enquiries hit an all-time high.

In this first episode, we discuss the common misconceptions around loan sharks and how these illegal money lenders have a profound and devastating impact on their victims.

Episode Two: Working with the community

Runcorn Local Policing Unit joins the IMLT to explain how it set up an award-winning project by working with local schools like St Martin’s Primary and other organisations such as Halton Trading Standards to raise awareness about loan sharks.

Episode Three: Supporting tenants

#CheltenhamSaysNo was a campaign launched by Cheltenham Borough Homes with the support of IMLT and on this week’s podcast episode, the IMLT explains how campaigns like this are tackling loan sharks in particularly vulnerable areas and encouraging people to save with Gloucestershire Credit Union.  

Episode Four: It starts with young people

The IMLT is working with schools and supporting organisations to prevent future generations from falling into the trap of borrowing money from loan sharks. This week we’re joined by Just Credit Union and Citizens Advice Havant Work Out Your Money to discuss the importance of teaching children about personal finance at an early age, so they are better prepared to make sound financial decisions in the future. 

Episode Five: Finding a way out 

After repaying a loan shark for seven years, Becky reached breaking point and had to seek support to keep her and her family safe. This episode looks at the shocking reality of getting involved with a loan shark and how organisations like the IMLT are working to help victims reclaim their lives.

7 Days of Sharks – Short Stories 

The IMLT recently held a national short story competition to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and provide advice to help people avoid falling victim to these criminals.

The winning stories are available to listen to on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. You can also use our embedded players below. 

Day 1 – Don’t Borrow from Baz

This story is by Maria Perruzza from Staffordshire, who drew on her career in community safety to write “Don’t Borrow from Baz”. Her tale is about a shady character who is well known in the community as being a money lender. 

Loan sharks operate in all settings, including pubs, and may already be preying on the regulars. They may offer a quick-fix small loan but in the long term, any money borrowed will come at a very high price and may lead to violence, threats and intimidation.  

Day 2 – Uncle

This story “Uncle” is by Tricia Waller who lives in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire and works with vulnerable students. Tricia’s inspiration was partly taken from a news story about deprived families being rehoused to a new area and wondering about the twist and turns of people’s lives.

Loan sharks may appear friendly at first but can quickly turn nasty. They may threaten your children and family if you get behind with repayments. Get help if you need it, and don’t be ashamed. Don’t suffer in silence.

Day 3 – If Only………

WARNING: This poem contains explicit language.

This story is by Ruth Taylor, a volunteer for Hampshire Search and Rescue. Ruth’s story “A Misunderstanding?” is about a pensioner who has fallen victim to a loan shark in her community. 

It is easy to fall into the grip of a loan shark as they are often very friendly at first. They may offer to shop for you, post parcels or call in regularly for a chat but will quickly turn nasty if you fall behind on repayments.  

Day 4 – The Loan Ranger

This tale is by Mark Cowan from Stockton, who used his experience as a teacher to create the story “The Loan Ranger” about a parent struggling to buy a birthday present for his son while on a tight budget. He discusses his money worries with a man in the pub. 

Loan sharks may seem friendly at first but borrowing from them is never a good idea as they often resort to intimidation, threats or violence. They may threaten to tell others about the unpaid debts and make you feel isolated. Please don’t suffer in silence.

Day 5 – A Misunderstanding?

This story is by Ruth Taylor, a volunteer for Hampshire Search and Rescue. Ruth’s story “A Misunderstanding?” is about a pensioner who has fallen victim to a loan shark in her community. 

It is easy to fall into the grip of a loan shark as they are often very friendly at first. They may offer to shop for you, post parcels or call in regularly for a chat but will quickly turn nasty if you fall behind on repayments.  

Day 6 – Building a Better Future

This story is by Jan Clampett from Romford, who drew on her experience of running a weekly English class for parents at a local school and meeting a wide range of people as a volunteer for Citizens Advice. Jan’s story Building a Better Future” is about a loan shark who preys on new arrivals to the UK. 

Loan sharks may target people who are arriving in the UK for the first time and looking for work. They may offer to lend you money until you are settled and take your bank card, jewellery or passport as security on the loan. If you have had to hand over your personal items on a loan, get support right away.

Day 7 – The Loan Shark

WARNING: This poem contains explicit language.

This poem “The Loan Shark” is by David Graham from Gateshead, a freelance photographer and a lover of the written word who writes both poetry and fiction in his spare time. David’s poem tells of a loan shark who uses intimidation and threats to keep the money coming in.

Loan sharks may threaten you by saying bad things will happen if you don’t pay up or that you will go to jail for borrowing money illegally. This is not true. It is important to remember that the loan shark is committing a crime and you are not in trouble if you are a victim. 

What to do if you’ve fallen victim to a loan shark

If you’re affected by anything in this podcast series or believe you or someone you know has been bitten by a loan shark, help is only a phone call away. Get in touch by calling 0300 555 2222 or use our online reporting form. Live chat available 9am to 5pm, Monday – Friday. You can access Live Chat by clicking the button on the right-hand side of the screen. There may be times when we are busy that the option may be temporarily unavailable.

Email us reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

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